Sunday, August 10, 2008

The F-Scale


When you live in the middle especially so close to tornado alley you learn a lot about the Fujita scale used to determine the strength of a tornado by what it destroys. There are certain types of dwellings that can not sustain the lower end of the scale very well and will be wiped off of the face of the earth when dealing with the upper end. The dwellings I am thinking about are the mobile homes. That is why the residents of these homes need additional shelter for storms.

Warning systems are in place to try to prevent death and injury in these storms. The weather service will announce a “watch” or a “warning”. For the a short while I didn’t bother to distinguish between the two the word tornado was enough to send my southern California self out of bed at 3 am. That gets old quick in the spring time when there can be a watch or warning every time you turn around. So I made the effort to learn more about this.

It breaks down like this, a watch means keep at least one eye open but stay in bed conditions are favorable for a tornado. The warning means the funnel has been sighted, haul your heiney out of bed, and go somewhere safe.

The other day Steve and I determined there is more than one F-Scale because we put ourselves under a “watch.” We were at Wal-Mart, it was late, we were both tired, and conditions were right for a fight. It occurred to us that there are now two F-Scales the Fujita Scale and the Fight scale and they parallel each other beautifully. Consider the similarities Wal-Mart is the trailer park, when you mix that environment with “tired = the High” and “late = the low” the conditions become correct for a marital fight. How bad the fight is really depends on how tired and how late it is and of course how crazy Wal-Mart is.

The official watch was announced and it flared into a small F-2 warning. The "Low" did have to leave the grocery area and go directly to the card area for a few minutes so that the "High" wouldn’t turn into an F-3 or F-4. F-5 someone’s getting left at Wal-Mart. About five minutes later a cell phone rings to determine where "High" was in the store and of course the "Low" was still spiking. The warning was announced and both the "High" and the "Low" got back together peacefully and made it through but not before making the official NOAA announcement.

The "High" and the "Low" talked about the developing F-Scale and we determined that relationships need to have the scale too. That way the "High" won’t sneak up on the "Low" and cause flat out devastation or vice versa. It was also determined that a scale is necessary because you can not take appropriate cover if you don’t really know how strong the High and Low are going to be. I mean who wants to get out of bed at 3 in the morning if the storm is just in the “watch” stage. For heavens sakes you don’t want to be leaving your "High or Low" in a grocery store, at some point someone's got to go back and get the "High or Low." By then it is certain that what was an F-2 will increase in power and strength and is sure to turn into an F-4.

Making the announcement is helpful when conditions are right because devastation can most certainly be avoided especially if the warning system is in place and well understood by the High and Low. One other tip as mobile homes should be avoided during stormy weather Wal-Mart should be avoided during "late and tired" conditions.

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